Kingdom of Navarre

gigatos | May 24, 2022


The Kingdom of Navarre (in Basque Nafarroako Erresuma) was a European state that existed on the territory extending from both sides of the Pyrenean chain, on the Atlantic Ocean. Navarre, at some points in its history, corresponded very roughly to the territories occupied by the Basque People.

Although the details are abundantly legendary, the Kingdom of Pamplona, later called Navarre, was an outgrowth of the county of Pamplona, its traditional capital, when the Basque exponent Íñigo I of Pamplona or Enneco Aresta (Basque: Eneko Haritza , Spanish: Iñigo Arista or Aiza) was chosen as king in Pamplona (traditionally in 824) and led a revolt against the Franks.

The southern part of the kingdom, Upper Navarre, was occupied (1512) by Castilian-Aragonese troops and annexed to the crown of Aragon, in 1513, and finally, in 1515, became part of the Crown of Castile and then the unified Kingdom of Spain. The northern part of the kingdom, Lower Navarre, remained independent but was annexed to France by a personal union in 1589, when King Henry III of Navarre inherited the French throne as Henry IV of France, and in 1620 was annexed to the Kingdom of France.

There are similar place names as early as ancient times, but the first documentation of the Latin term navarros appears in the Chronicle of the Deeds of Charlemagne, composed by Einhard.Other Royal Frankish Annals give the term nabarros.There are two etymological hypotheses for the name Navarre

Note that Joan Corominas does not consider naba a term of clear Basque origin, but part of the broader pre-Roman linguistic substratum.

The kingdom of Pamplona and later Navarre were part of the traditional territory of the Vasconi, a pre-Roman tribe. It occupied the southern flank of the Western Pyrenees and was part of the Bay of Biscay coastline. The area was entirely conquered by the Romans in 74 BC. First part of the Roman province Hispania Citerior, then of the province Hispania Tarraconensis and after that of the conventus Caesaraugustanus. Rome left a clear imprint on the area in urbanization, language, infrastructure, trade and industry.

After the decline of the Western Roman Empire, neither the Visigoths nor the Arabs were ever able to permanently occupy the Western Pyrenees. The western Pyrenean passes were the only ones that allowed easy transit through the mountains, as opposed to the eastern Pyrenean passes. This made the region strategically important from the very beginning of its history.

The Franks under Charlemagne extended their influence and control southward, occupying many regions in the north and east of the Iberian Peninsula. It is unclear how solid Frankish control of Pamplona was. On August 15, 778, after Charlemagne had demolished the walls of Pamplona in his retreat, the Basque tribes annihilated his rearguard, commanded by Orlando (Roland), in a confrontation that took place in a gorge passage between mountains that has passed into history as the Battle of Roncesvalles, in which, according to legend, Íñigo I Íñiguez Arista, at the age of seven, participated with his father, Íñigo Jiménez Arista († 781), it seems, descended from the house of the Dukes of Gascony.

However, Íñigo Íñiguez, upon his father”s death, inherited Pamplona and all the surrounding territory, while his widowed mother married, in second marriage, the lord of Tudela, (Musá ibn Fortún, of the Banu Qasi family lords of the upper Ebro valley). Her stepfather helped her maintain her lordship over Pamplona and neighboring territories.

In 806 and 812 Pamplona again fell into the hands of the Franks, led by the king of Aquitaine, Ludwig the Pious, who, failing to subdue it, had to cross the Pyrenees again. After this success Inigo gained absolute control of Pamplona, and both because the Frankish emperors, encountering difficulties at home, were no longer in a position to reserve their attention to the frontier regions of their empire, and also because the alliance with the Banu Qasi of the Ebro valley, which helped Pamplona defend itself against attacks by the Cordoba emirate of al-Andalus (the ʿAbd al-Raḥmān I ibn Muʿāwiya emir had been the last emir to occupy Pamplona in 781) the country, little by little, managed to make itself independent of both each other and, in 824, the Basque leader Íñigo I was chosen as King of Pamplona, which later became known as the Kingdom of Navarre or Kingdom of the Basques, born out of an alliance between Christians and Muslims, who helped each other by intermarrying: the alliance between the Arista and the Banu Qasi would last about 150 years.

Íñigo I reigned until 851, but it appears that from 841, he was joined by a co-ruler, Jimeno I Garcés, of the Jiménez dynasty, who in turn co-ruled with Íñigo I Íñiguez Arista”s legitimate son, García I Íñiguez. Between the years 851 and 882 there are uncertain records of rulers who would have co-ruled together, both from the Jiménez and Arista dynasties. The historically ascertained kings are García I Íñiguez and Fortunato Garcés known as the Monk, these two sovereigns would have co-ruled respectively with two kings of the Jiménez dynasty, Jimeno I Garcés and García II Jiménez probable founder of the Jiménez dynasty.

In 859 García I Iñiguez, pressed by an expedition of Vikings, allied himself with the king of Asturias, Ordoño I and together they triumphed over the Scandinavians, at the Battle of Albelda.This change of alliance led, in 860, to the imprisonment by the Moors, of his son, Fortunato, who languished in prison in Cordova, for about 20 years.

When García I died, in 870, because his son, Fortunato, was in Córdoba, a prisoner of the Moors of al-Andalus, García II Jiménez, also became regent of the other half of the kingdom, and most likely made use of the title of king and, upon Fortunato”s release in 880, returned to co-ruler. García defended the territory from attacks by the Moors of al-Andalus and died in battle at Ayhar, in 882, fighting the emir of Cordova, Muḥammad I ibn ʿAbd al-Raḥmān. During Fortunato”s reign, the army of al-Andalus, first with Emir Muḥammad I and then also with the new emirs al-Mundhir ibn Muhammad I (886-888) and ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muḥammad (888-912) made several incursions into the territory of Navarre, plundering and destroying, with the complicity of the Banu Qasi (no longer allies of the king of Pamplona), of Lope ibn Muhammad, great-grandson of Musa II.

Fortunato, subsequently, returning to the traditional policy of the Arista family, established good relations with the Banu Qasi, a policy that was disliked by his son-in-law Alfonso III of Asturias, and the Count of Pallars, who, enemies of the Banu Qasi, organized the deposition of Fortunato (forced to become a monk, in the monastery of Leyra), which took place in 905 in favor of Sancho I Garcés, son of García II Jiménez.

In the year 905, a Leonese Chronicle records for the first time the extent of the Kingdom of Pamplona, making it clear that it extended as far as Nájera and Arba (probably Álava), which somehow implied that the kingdom also included the western Basque regions:

The choice of Sancho I Garcés of Navarre (905-25), was also supported by the people of Pamplona because he had married Toda Aznárez, the daughter of Aznar Sánchez, lord of Larraun, and Oneca Fortúnez, the daughter of King Fortunato, of the Arista dynasty. Sancho I fought against the Muslims, seizing repeated successes, including, in alliance with the king of Galicia and León, Ordoño II, the victory of San Esteban de Gormaz, in 917, thereby succeeding in uniting Ultra-Puertos, or Lower Navarre, to his domains and extending his territories as far as Nájera.

In 922, upon the death of the count of Aragon, Galindo II Aznárez, who was the brother of his first wife, Sancho had occupied the county of Aragon, ignoring the right of succession of all other claimants, including Galindo”s daughter Andregoto Galíndez and the Muslim governor of Huesca, al-Tawīl, who was married to another sister of the count, Sancha. Tensions ceased when Sancho García”s son was betrothed to Andregoto. During Sancho”s reign the kingdom of Pamplona began to mint coinage.Before his death, all Muslims had been expelled from the country.

His successor, García I Sánchez (925-70), began reigning under the regency of his mother, Toda, and uncle Jimeno II Garces, who made use of the royal title, and although he was also count consort of Aragon, he inherited a weak estate, due to the defeats suffered by his father.

The emirate of al-Andalus, on the other hand, under the leadership of ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III who, in 929, had become caliphate, in 932, had recaptured Toledo, and, in 934 had humiliated the regent, his mother Toda, by imposing a formal act of submission on him. In 937, García I again had to make act of vassalage to the caliph of al-Andalus, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III.

In 939, however, he allied himself with the King of León Ramiro II, and at the command of Leonese, Asturian, Galician, and Castilian troops he imparted a crushing defeat to ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III at the Battle of Simancas after which ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III, al-Nāṣir li-dīn Allāh (defender of the faith) no longer participated, in person, in warfare operations. In 958, García I became involved in the Leonese civil war between Sancho the Grosso and Ordoño IV: Sancho asked for help from his grandmother, Toda (García I”s mother), who granted it to him and succeeded in being received, along with García and Sancho, in Cordova, at the court of Caliph ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III, where Sancho, García”s guarantor, in exchange for the help of al-Andalus troops, promised that if he regained possession of the throne, he would hand over ten Leonese castles to the caliph. Since upon the death of ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III, Sancho and García had not yet fulfilled the pledge, the new caliph, al-Ḥakam II, declared war on the Christian kingdoms and invaded and sacked Leon, Castile and Navarre, he forced their respective rulers, Sancho I, Fernán González and García I Sánchez, imitated soon after by the counts of Barcelona, Miró and his brother Borrell II, to call for peace (963).

Decadence and maximum expansion (King of the House of Navarre)

García Sánchez”s son Sancho II Garcés, nicknamed Abarca, succeeded him as king of Pamplona and count of Aragon from 970 to 994. The county of Aragon he had inherited through his mother. After suffering a defeat at San Esteban de Gormaz, in 975, the following year, upon the death of Caliph al-Ḥakam II ibn ʿAbd al-Raḥmān, in tune with the king of León, Ramiro III, and the count of Castile, García Fernández, with whom a marriage policy had been developed, which had led to coordination among the various rulers, the Christian kingdoms sought to take advantage of this by creating an anti-Islamic coalition among the kingdoms of León, Castile, and Navarre, as the new Umayyad caliph, Hisham II was only 11 years old. the coalition, in 981, massed troops in the Duero valley; however, power, in Cordova, had ended up in the hands of the hajib (governor) Almanzor, who also turned out to be an excellent general, who marched swiftly against the enemy and routed them at the battle of Rueda, about 40 km southeast of Simancas. It was after this brilliant victory that Almanzor was given the laqab by which he is known: al-Mansūr bi-llāh (“He who is made victor by God”).

Sancho, then had to go to Cordova, as ambassador of his own kingdom, bringing several gifts for the victorious hajib, Almanzor, and succeeded in obtaining a peace treaty, however, giving him his daughter Urraca as his wife. Jaime del Burgo”s Historia General de Navarra states that on the occasion of the donation of the villa of Alastue by the king of Pamplona to the monastery of San Juan de la Peña in 987, he signed himself “King of Navarre”: this was the first time this title was used. In various places he appears as the first King of Navarre and in others as the third; however, he was at least the sixth King of Pamplona, and counting the coregnants the ninth or tenth.

In 994, he was succeeded in the title of king of Navarre and count of Aragon by his eldest son, García II Sánchez, who confirmed by going to Córdoba, the vassalage to al-Andalus, which his father had accepted, but in 997, he organized an expedition against the Moors from the territories around Calatayud, and, in 1000, allied with the Count of Castile, Sancho Garcés and the King of León, Alfonso V, he participated in the battle of Cervera de Pisuergase, in the province of Palencia, where he lost his life.


His son, Sancho III Garcés the Great (reg. 1000-35), succeeded him in the titles of king of Navarre and count of Aragon, under the tutelage of his mother and a regency council, made up of nobles and the high clergy, until, having come of age, he exercised power directly, moved the royal residence from Pamplona to Nájera and, in 1010, married Munia, the daughter of the Count of Castile Sancho Garcés, initiating a period of good neighborliness with the county of Castile, which led, in 1016, to the borders between the two states being properly fixed. Between 1016 and 1019 he succeeded in seizing the counties of Sobrarbe and Ribagorza. He then initiated a policy of exchanges, political, religious and intellectual, with the Duchy of Gascony, which led him to create, between 1021 and 1025, north of the Pyrenees, the counties of Labourd, Bayonne and Baztán.

Later as guardian of the count of Castile, his brother-in-law, García Sánchez, while still a child, Sancho, helped him against the León of Alfonso V. In 1029, The county of Castile passed to his wife, Munia, who ruled it together with Sancho until 1032, when Munia retired and Sancho was crowned count of Castile on the condition that upon his death the kingdom of Castile would again become independent from the kingdom of Navarre.

The war with León resumed against the new king of León, Bermudo III, with the conquest, of territories in the region of Palencia, until peace was sealed, with the marriage between Sancho and Munia”s eldest son Ferdinand and Bermudo”s sister Sancha in 1032. But then, despite the marriage, the dispute with León was resumed with the conquest of Zamora, Sancho in 1034 occupied Astorga and León itself, the capital of the kingdom, forcing Bermudo to take refuge in Galicia. Thus and included: the kingdom of Navarre, the county of Aragon, the kingdom (former county) of Castile and the kingdom of León.

From 1034 Sancho called himself Imperator Totus Hispaniae and minted coinage under this title. Under him the realm reached its zenith: he had reunited almost all of Christendom into a single state that extended, north of the Duero River, from Galicia to the county of Barcelona reigned over Pamplona, Castile, Aragon, the counties of Sobrarte and Ribagorza, and the region of Pisuerga and Cea, which was pertaining to the Kingdom of León, also exercising a protectorate over León and Gascony. Under the rule of Sancho the Great (el Mayor), the country reached the greatest prosperity in its history, in this facilitated by the crisis of al-Andalus, which began with the death of Almanzor (1002) and ended with the suppression of the Caliphate of Cordova (1031), leading to the establishment of the Kingdoms of Taifa.

Sancho died in 1035, dividing his “empire” among his four sons:

García III (the northern slopes of the western Pyrenees, called by the inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula the ultra puertos (the Basque provinces of Spain and France; the Bureba, the valley that is between the Basque mountains and the Monti de Oca north of Burgos; the Rioja and Tarazona in the upper Ebro valley.

In 1037 he helped his brother Ferdinand in the war against the King of León, Bermudo III, obtaining, in exchange for annexation to Navarre, the rest of the Basque Country reaching as far as the port of Santander.

In 1043 he rejected the claims to supremacy over Navarre of his half-brother Ramiro I of Aragon, who had invaded Navarre, defeating him at the Battle of Tafalla.

García then began to covet his brother Ferdinand”s domains, and the rivalry against his brother led to a war; in 1054, García invaded Castile but was defeated and killed in battle at Atapuerca.

Diocese in the Kingdom of Navarre

During this period of independence, the country”s ecclesiastical affairs reached a high degree of development. Sancho the Great moved, for some time, the bishopric of the diocese of Pamplona to Leyra, where he convened a synod, in 1022, and then convened another in Pamplona, in 1023. Next to this diocese was the bishopric of Oca, which then, in 1079, was united with that of Burgos. In 1035 Sancho the Great restored the diocese of Palencia, which had been suppressed after the Arab conquest. When, in 1045, the city of Calahorra, after more than three hundred years of Arab occupation, was wrested from the kingdom of Cordova, a diocese was created there, which in the same year absorbed that of Nájera and, in 1088, that of Álava, whose jurisdiction covered almost all the territory of the present-day diocese of Vitoria. The diocese of Pamplona increased its importance, and with the various synods Sancho the Great succeeded in setting up a reform of ecclesiastical life with the convent at its center.

Dismemberment of Navarre

García III was succeeded by Sancho IV (1054-76) of Peñalén, who allied with his uncle, King Ramiro I of Aragon and attacked and besieged the taifa of Zaragoza, forcing the king of Zaragoza, al-Muqtadir to pay them tribute.

After, in 1065, Sancho II the Strong had succeeded his father Ferdinand I conflicts with the kingdom of Castile had begun, resulting, in 1067, in what was called the War of the Three Sanchis, which pitted the king of Castile, Sancho II the Strong, against the kings of Navarre, Sancho IV, and Aragon, Sancho I.

The Castilians, led by El Cid, reported an initial victory but the war ended in 1068 with the defeat of Castile, which had to renounce its territorial claims on Navarre. Sancho was assassinated in Peñalén, the victim of a political conspiracy hatched by his brothers. His death provoked the invasion of the kingdom of Navarre by his cousins:

Sancho V strengthened the defenses of the kingdom, with the construction of new castles, and improved relations with the kingdom of Castile, helping King Alfonso VI at the Battle of Sagrajas, in 1086, and in the defense of Toledo, in 1090; finally signing a treaty of mutual assistance with the Cid Campeador, in 1092.

He died, shot by an arrow, at the siege of Huesca (1094).

He was succeeded by his eldest son, Peter (1094-104), who conquered Huesca, in 1095, after defeating, near the city, at the Battle of Alcoraz, the king of Zaragoza, Al-Musta”in II.In 1096, he allied himself with El Cid, who had occupied Valencia, with the intention of stopping the Almoravid advance together; which happened at the Battle of Bairén. In 1101 he took Barbastro and Sariñena, unsuccessfully attempted to occupy Zaragoza, and, in 1104, besieged Tamarite de Litera.Alfonso I “the Battler,” 1104-34, brother of Pedro Sánchez, who succeeded him, continued his brother”s military campaigns and ensured the territorial expansion of the kingdom.

In 1009, he married the queen of León and Castile, Urraca. It was an unfortunate marriage that was annulled by Pope Paschal II, in 1114 (the year he had wrested Tudela from the Muslims), but it left a dispute over the boundaries of the kingdoms, which Alfonso I resolved, after Urraca”s death(1126), with his successor, Alfonso VII occupying some Castilian territories (Calahorra, and the provinces of Guipúzcoa and Álava).

In 1118, Zaragoza was liberated from the Moors and became the capital of the Kingdom of Aragon. Then he also conquered Fuentes de Ebro, Tudela, Cervera, Tarazona, Magallón, Borja, Alagón, Novillas, Mallén, Rueda, and Épila (in 1119, after laying siege to Calatayud, he had to face an Almoravid army, which he defeated at the Battle of Cutanda, Calamocha, in the province of Teruel, then returned to Calatayud and conquered it; he also occupied Bubierca, Alhama de Aragón, Ariza and Daroca in 1120.

In 1131 he laid siege to Bayonne, where he drew up a will leaving all his kingdoms to the Order of the Temple of the Holy Sepulcher, which he conquered after a year”s siege and annexed Labourd.Seeking to conquer the entire Ebro valley, up to the river”s mouth, he besieged and occupied Mequinenza, in 1133. He then besieged Fraga with only 500 knights, including García IV Ramírez, future king of Navarre, but was defeated on July 17, 1134. He then went on to besiege the castle of Lizana, in the Huesca area, where he died, on September 7, 1134, as a result of wounds received in the battle that took place between the towns of Sariñena and Grañén.

His will was not accepted by either the Church or the nobility, who, since Alfonso had no heirs, decided on the separation of the two kingdoms:

García IV Ramírez of Navarre (1134-50), known as the Restorer, was the first King of Navarre to use that title. Lord of Monzón and grandson of Rodrigo Diaz of Vivar, El Cid, he was the son of Ramiro Sánchez, (son of Sancho Garcés of Navarre, illegitimate son of the King of Navarre García III Sánchez) and Cristina Diaz of Bivar, daughter of the Cid Campeador.

As soon as he was elected king, Navarre, along with Aragon, was invaded and occupied by the King of León and Castile Alfonso VII to whom García had to make an act of vassalage. Between 1139 and 1140 at Carrión de los Condes a treaty was made between Alfonso VII and the Prince of Aragon and Count of Barcelona Raymond Berengario IV, which fixed the borders between Castile and Aragon and committed them to a war of conquest against Navarre, and after an initial defeat, García confirmed himself as a vassal of Alfonso VII by signing a separate peace with Alfonso VII in 1140 at Tudela. In 1147 García IV participated, alongside the king of Castile, in the Almería campaign and in 1149 signed a peace treaty with the count of Barcelona and prince of Aragon, Raymond Berengar IV.

He was succeeded by his son Sancho VI of Navarre (1150-94), known as “The Wise,” who, in 1151, was reconfirmed as a vassal of Alfonso VII and then, in 1157, of the new king of Castile, Sancho III, while, with the agreement of Soria, the borders between Navarre and Castile had been confirmed.

However, in 1158, with the accession to the throne of the new three-year-old King Alfonso VIII of Castile, Sancho VI was able to bring some of the towns of La Rioja back under his control.

In 1162, after the death of the prince of Aragon Raymond Berengar IV, relations between Navarre and Aragon improved and with the new king of Aragon, Alfonso II the Chaste, signed an alliance pact, renewed in 1190. In 1177, as the King of Castile, Alfonso VIII, was now an adult, the dispute was referred to arbitration by the English Plantagenet King Henry II. The Navarrese based his claims on the “proven will of the local people” and history, while the Castilian based them on the merits earned in the crusades against the Muslims in the Iberian Peninsula. The English decision thus divided the territories: to Navarre went Álava, Biscay and Guipúzcoa, to Castile La Rioja and the other western territories. And so, in 1180, Alfonso VIII succeeded in taking from Sancho VI again the cities of La Rioja.

In the last years of his life, because of the insecurity of alliances with Aragon and Castile, he sought matrimonial ties with the northern rulers: his daughter, Berengaria, accompanied by her elderly mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and her betrothed Richard the Lionheart, reached Sicily from Navarre, where they then embarked for Cyprus, where, in 1191, the marriage was celebrated. Back in Europe, Berengaria lived in Poitou, France, where her mother-in-law resided. She was the only queen of England who never set foot in her new realm. However, Sancho VI García the Wise fortified Navarre and was never defeated in battle.

He was succeeded by his son, Sancho VII the Strong (Sancho el Fuerte) (1194-234), who was the last king of the male dynasty of Sancho the Great and the Kings of Pamplona. In 1196, he arrived late at Alarcos after the battle had ended in disaster for Alfonso VIII”s Castilians and relations between the two kings soured and in the ensuing war Sancho devastated Soria and Almazán and Alfonso VIII demanded the peace of Tarazona. Sancho allied himself with Caliph Yacub ben Yussuf of the Almohads and was excommunicated by Pope Innocent III in a bull of 1198 (later annulled in 1199).

While Sancho VII alongside his ally, Yacub, was fighting in Murcia, Andalusia, and North Africa, Alfonso VIII took advantage of this to take its coastal area, Álava, Guipúzcoa, from Navarre in 1200, a strategic region that would have allowed easier access to European wool markets to Castile and also would have isolated Navarre as well (the towns of Vitoria and Treviño attempted to resist the Castilian onslaught, and when they realized that no reinforcements would arrive, Vitoria surrendered while Treviño was conquered by force of arms); Treviño and Oñati were annexed directly to Castile, while L”Alava became a county, Biscay a lordship, and Guipuscoa merely a province. Then, in 1207, the situation was confirmed by the Treaty of Guadalajara.Leaving the alliance with the Almohads, his presence at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa was decisive for the coalition of Castile, Navarre, Aragon and Portugal, which, in 1212, severely defeated the Almohad caliph Muhammad al-Nasir. Tradition has it that his Navarrese troops had made it all the way to the caliph”s tent (also known as Miramamolin) after cutting the golden chains that protected it and held its personal bodyguard, made up of slaves; this would be the origin of the adoption of the golden chains as the king”s personal emblem, later to become distinctive of the monarchy of Navarre itself Although some studies have shown how this tradition may in fact have been elaborated later, around the 16th century to be precise, it is certain how Sancho VII was the first to adopt the symbol that became characteristic of Navarre first.

After the battle he retired to a convent, leaving the regency to his sister, Blanche of Navarre, Countess of Champagne.

When her sister died in 1229, the regency passed to her older sister, Berengaria, who in turn died in December 1230.

With Sancho VII Spanish rule over Navarre ended, for upon his death (1234) having no direct male descendants, the Cortes of Navarre rejected union with the kingdom of Aragon, as it should have been by the 1231 Treaty of Tudela, signed, after the death of the two sisters with the King of Aragon James the Conqueror (who unsuccessfully claimed it), which provided that the one who survived would occupy the other”s kingdom, and voted that the kingdom be inherited by Tybalt I of Navarre, who was the son of Blanche of Navarre, sister of Sancho VII and Tybalt, Count of Champagne and Brie.

King of the House of Champagne

In 1234, Tebaldo (1234-53), formerly count of Champagne, received the crown of Navarre upon the death of his uncle, Sancho VII the Strong. After being crowned in Pamplona, he returned to France to resume his conspiracy activities against the power of the king of France. In 1236, he was summoned to the court in Paris to give an account of his actions to the king, Louis IX the Holy, and while kneeling and asking Louis” forgiveness, the king”s young brother, Robert I d”Artois, had dung thrown on his head, humiliating and ridiculing him. Tebaldo left for Navarre and although he returned to France, to follow the government of his county, he was no longer interested in the politics of the kingdom of France. In Navarre, he was followed by some of the nobles of the county of Champagne, to whom he gave various assignments, and in foreign policy he maintained good relations with the kingdoms of Aragon, England and Castile.

In 1238, Tybalt had command of a crusading army in the Holy Land, where, although defeated, he managed to obtain from the Muslims, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Ascalon. He returned from the crusade in 1240, and spent the time of his reign between Navarre and the county of Champagne, and although he did not have good relations with the bishop of Pamplona, Pedro Jiménez de Gazólaz, he always refused the papal courts, but Pope Innocent IV, granted him a special privilege that no one could excommunicate him without papal permission. Tebaldo I, at the court of the Counts of Champagne, had promoted the development of a center where the poetry of the Troubadours was welcomed, and he too, known as Thibault le Chansonnier, wrote poems and songs, especially for the Queen Mother of France, Blanche of Castile.

He helped the king of France, Louis IX the Holy, whose daughter Isabella he married, against pressure from his vassals, becoming his adviser, while King Louis often intervened as an arbitrator in Navarre”s internal problems, but above all he was a judge in Tybalt”s disputes against his sister Marguerite and her husband, Frederick III of Lorraine, inherent in disputes between the county of Champagne and the duchy of Lorraine. He obtained the ports of Fuenterrabía and San Sebastián from Castile.

In July 1270 he embarked with his father-in-law, for the Eighth Crusade to Tunis, where he fell ill with dysentery during the siege of the city, before dying, childless in Trapani, on the return journey. He was succeeded by his younger brother Henry I of Navarre, who already held the lieutenancy.

Henry I (1270-74), who had married Bianca d”Artois, daughter of Robert I d”Artois, anointed and crowned in 1271 and 1273, respectively, reigned for about four years, showing himself attentive to the problems of his subjects, granting privileges to towns and cities such as Estella, Los Arcos, and Viana and also had a very good relationship with the Navarrese nobility. He died, in 1274, at the age of 30, apparently due to obesity, leaving the kingdom to his daughter Joan.

Joan (1274-305), was a three-year-old girl whom the regent, her mother, Blanche, took with her to Paris, to the French court, to her cousin, Philip III the Bold, whose son, Philip the Fair had been betrothed to Joan. As a result of that betrothal, French troops occupied the kingdom of Navarre, which was ruled by French officials. The counties of Champagne and Brie, on the other hand, continued to be governed by the regent, Blanche of Artois, who in 1276, was married in her second marriage to Edmund, 1st Earl of Lancaster, brother of the King of England, Edward I, and continued to govern the two counties even after Joan had come of age.

On August 16, 1284, Joan, at the age of 13, married Philip the Fair, who became Philip I of Navarre, in Paris”s Notre-Dame cathedral, and the following year, in 1285, together with her husband, she became queen of France.

King of the Capetian dynasty

The kingdom of Navarre was ruled for about forty-three years by the kings of France, while maintaining its own laws and a separate administration, by the following kings:

Joan II (1328-1349), who became queen of Navarre upon the death of her uncle, Charles the Fair, had been deprived of the throne of France and Navarre upon the death of her father, Louis the Attacker, and her half-brother, John the Posthumous, in favor of her uncle, Philip the Long, for two reasons:

In compensation Joan was granted an annuity of 15,000 Lire Tournès, the promise of the earldom of Champagne and Brie if Philip died without male heirs, and the hand of Joan”s father”s cousin Philip, Count of Évreux. But, upon the death of Philip the Long (1322), without male heirs, continuing to neglect Joan”s rights, he was succeeded, both on the throne of France and that of Navarre, by his brother Charles the Fair.

And when, in 1328, Charles the Fair also died without a male heir, a cousin of the king, Philip VI of Valois, became the new king of France, who recognized her rights to the crown of Navarre, and Joan, in return, had to relinquish her rights to the crown of France and cede the counties of Champagne and Brie to the French Royal Dominion. In 1328, she married her cousin Philip, count of Évreux, and, crowned Philip III of Navarre (1328-43), ruled, along with his wife, until his death at the siege of Algeciras during the crusade against the Muslim king of Granada. The rulers of Navarre maintained excellent relations with the king of France, Philip VI; and, after the war of 1334, also with that of Castile, Alfonso XI. During their reign they consolidated the Cortes of Navarre composed of the three states: clergy, nobility, and bourgeoisie; protected the urban bourgeoisie in its contrasts with the petty nobility; improved administration; and finally approved a policy of persecution of the Jews.

King of the House of Évreux

Joan II was succeeded by her son, Charles called the Wicked (1349-87), who although he had married Joan of France, daughter of King John II the Good of France, was constantly at war with his father-in-law and then brother-in-law, Dauphin Charles the Wise, for during the Hundred Years” War, initiated by the King of England, Edward III, in 1337, which had revived in 1355, he was a loyal ally of the English.

In 1356, Charles the Wicked was imprisoned in Normandy, but after the Prince of Wales, the heir to the English throne, Edward the Black Prince, defeated the French at the Battle of Poitiers, where King John II of France was taken prisoner, in 1357, he managed to escape from Arleux Castle and reached Paris, where he had the Dauphin of France appointed regent of the kingdom.

The dauphin, however, left Paris on a pretext and attacked the king of Navarre, and the city of Melun was besieged; then, for fear that Charles the Wicked would get English help, peace was sealed in 1359.

After more fighting, at Pamplona, peace was signed between the King of France and Charles the Wicked, who renounced all claim to the throne of France, and in return received sovereignty over Montpellier.

During the Castilian Civil War between King Peter I the Cruel and his half-brother Henry of Trastamara, the King of Navarre, together with the Black Prince”s Englishmen, sided with the former and took advantage of this to take territories from the Kingdom of Castile. However, in 1369, Henry II got the better of his half-brother and lashed out at Navarre, regaining the Castilian territory that had been taken away and imposing the first Treaty of Briones, 1373, on Charles the Wicked. In 1378, Navarre was being attacked by the King of Castile, who invaded, besieged Pamplona, took some fifteen castles from him, and had to suffer the humiliating Peace of Castile, in 1378: with the second Treaty of Briones he recognized Castile”s ownership, for ten years, of the castles he had conquered.

He was succeeded by his son, Charles the Noble (1387-1425), who, in 1390, over the great schism opened by the double election (1378) of Pope Urban IV and antipope Clement VII. Charles to all the most important administrative and government posts appointed Navarrese and no longer French, as his father had done, leading the kingdom and thus the House of Évreux to navarratization; moreover, among his interventions must be counted the creation of the Cort or supreme court (1413). He protected the arts, completed the construction of Pamplona”s Gothic cathedral and had the royal palaces of Tafalla and d”Olite built. He built canals and made the Ebro navigable in the part that runs through Navarre. For the heir to the throne of the kingdom of Navarre he created the title of prince of Viana (1423) and the first prince was his nephew Charles

He was succeeded by his daughter, Blanche of Navarre (1425-42), who had married, in her second marriage, the duke of Peñafiel and future king of the crown of Aragon, John (1397-1479). She left the government in the hands of her husband, John, who in those years was involved in Castile”s internal affairs along with his brother, Henry (they were known as the infants of Aragon), and after the defeats suffered, in the period 1428-1429, Navarre had to cede some border areas to Castile.

Upon Bianca”s death, 1441, John usurped the throne of Navarre from his son Charles and assumed the title of King of Navarre, leaving his son as governor. This situation between father and son led them to civil war, which erupted in 1451.

King of the house of Aragon (Trastámara dynasty)

Upon his mother”s death in 1441, Charles IV of Navarre became king of Navarre, but he never actually ruled, because his father usurped the throne of Navarre from his son, assuming the title of king of Navarre as John II, which allowed his son to continue to rule it. Around 1450, Charles was reconciled with the governor of the kingdom of Castile, Álvaro de Luna, a bitter adversary of the Enríquez family, the family of his father”s new wife, Joanna Enríquez, for whom his father opposed reconciliation. Two parties were formed, the beamonteses, followers of the Beaumont family, partisans of Charles, and the agramonteses partisans of the ancient noble house of Agramont, favorable to King John II. Before long, the climate became heated and, in 1451, civil war broke out between Charles and his father, John, who prevailed, at the Battle of Aibar in 1452, despite the fact that Bianca, sister and daughter of the two contenders and wife of the heir to the throne of Castile, Henry the Impotent, asked her father-in-law John II of Castile to help her brother, Charles.

Charles was taken prisoner and had to promise his father that he would respect his mother”s testamentary wishes and claim the crown of Navarre only upon her death.

When Charles was freed he went to Italy to his uncle, the king of the crown of Aragon and Naples, Alfonso V, who supported him, as did Pope Calixtus III. In 1458, Alfonso, Charles” uncle, and the 80-year-old pope died. Charles, accompanied by a good number of Catalans, left the peninsula and went to Sicily, which was part of the crown of Aragon, which had been inherited from his father John (and Charles had been given the title of prince of Gerona, that is, heir to the throne of the crown of Aragon), and he gathered the favor of many Sicilians, who, mindful of the queen of Sicily, Bianca, his mother, would have looked favorably on him on the throne of Sicily.

Charles refused and, preferring to maintain a good relationship with his father, returned to the kingdom of Aragon (1459). A year later, John ordered that Charles be arrested because of a dispute that had arisen between Charles, who had entered into negotiations to be united in marriage with the half-sister of the King of Castile, Henry the Impotent, Isabella of Castile, and his stepmother, Joanna Enríquez, who objected because in her intentions Isabella was to marry her son Ferdinand. The Catalan cortes met in 1461 and decreed that the king should release his son, which happened immediately, and imposed on the king the concordat of Villafranca, in which Charles was shown to be the legitimate king of Navarre and the lieutenant of Catalonia.

Charles, however, died about three months later, having failed to gain the coronation as king of Navarre. Charles”s death was attributed to his stepmother, Queen Joan, who was accused of poisoning, so war was rekindled in Catalonia and Aragon, which rebelled against the rulers and started the war against John II, which lasted about ten years.

When Charles died, he was to be succeeded on the throne of Navarre by his sister Bianca, but she was arrested by her father John II, who continued to reign over Navarre and, in 1462, signed the Treaty of Olite, in which his other daughter, Eleanor, who had always been an ally of his and her stepmother”s, Joanna Enríquez, recognized the royal title of Navarre to her father, who, in turn recognized her as lieutenant of Navarre along with her husband, Gaston de Grailly (1425-1472), while Bianca, despite having the support of the Beamonteses party, was imprisoned and handed over to Gaston, who had her transferred to the county of Foix, and precisely had her imprisoned in the castle of Moncada, in Orthez, where Bianca, in 1464, died of poisoning, most likely on the orders of her sister, Eleanor. A chronicler of the time called Bianca”s death a great infamy committed by Count Gaston IV of Foix and his wife, Princess Donna Eleanor . Thus, with the death of her brothers, Charles and Bianca, Eleanor became the rightful heiress to the Navarrese throne, which she brought as a dowry to the House of Foix.In those years Eleanor recovered her relationship with the beamonteses and in 1468, she found herself opposed to her father, who with the support of the agramonteses got the better of her and deprived her of the title of lieutenant of Navarre, which she gave to Eleanor”s son, Gaston. However, after the death of her son Gaston (1470), Eleanor found an agreement with her father, who, in 1471, returned to him perpetual lieutenancy over Navarre, in exchange for renouncing any claim to the crown of Aragon.

When her father, John II, died in 1479, Eleanor, with the support of the agramonteses, managed to get herself crowned, in Tudela. Eleanor died after about two weeks, leaving the tone to her nephew, Francis Febo, recommending that he lean on the kingdom of France.

King of the House of Foix

Francis Febo (1479-83), became king of Navarre, under the regency of his mother, Magdalene of France. His uncle, John, Eleanor and Gaston”s third son, would have liked to succeed his mother, but Eleanor”s will was clear and the succession took place without problems.

Magdalene of France held the regency, steadfastly, resisting pressure from the courts of France and Castile, which attempted to marry Francis Febo to one of the princesses of their respective royal houses. Francis Febo was crowned, in Pamplona, in 1481. He died, however, without having ruled and before he could marry, in 1483, most likely from poisoning, leaving all his possessions to his younger sister, Catherine, for whom his mother Magdalena continued to have regency.

Catherine (1483-18) and her mother also came under pressure from the courts of France and Castile to marry Catherine to one of their princes; but Catherine, accepted the offer of the family of the lord of Albret and viscount of Tartas, John of Albret, brother-in-law of Cesare Borgia. Her mother Magdalene, who held the regency until 1494, also had to fight her uncle, the viscount of Narbona, John of Foix, who claimed to be, by Salic law, as a male, the heir of Francis Febo. John of Foix began a civil war, which lasted about ten years. Catherine and her husband could not be crowned king of Navarre until 1494, in Pamplona Cathedral. Peace was sealed at Tarbes, in 1497.

In 1512, Catherine and John signed an agreement in Blois with France”s King Louis XII, which included a secret clause forbidding the passage of Castilian troops over Navarrese soil. Ferdinand, having learned of the secret clause in the pact signed between France and Navarre, asked for permission to pass over Navarrese soil to attack France, but having obtained a refusal, Ferdinand declared war on Catherine, and the Castilian army entered Pamplona and in the head of two months Navarre south of the Pyrenees was conquered, partly because John of Albret had not fought and had taken refuge in Paris.

The entry of Spanish troops into Navarre had been preceded by a bull by Pope Julius II excommunicating Catherine and John and stripping them of their titles and territories. A second bull of Jan. 18, 1513, confirmed the excommunication and assigned the territories to whoever had conquered them (i.e., Ferdinand II).

Thus the kingdom of Navarre was divided into two parts:

King of the House of Albret

Lower Navarre continued to be independent with the kings of the house of Albret:

In 1548 Joan III married Anthony of Bourbon, duke of Vendôme; their son Henry IV in 1589 became king of France and the first of the reigning Bourbons over that country until 1830, while the kingdom of Navarre became permanently part of the French monarchy.


  1. Regno di Navarra
  2. Kingdom of Navarre
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